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Cheer!: Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders Hardcover – March 11, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; First Edition edition (March 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416535969
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416535966
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,190,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Torgovnick, who skipped all of her Durham, N.C., high school's mandatory pep rallies, decided at age 25 that cheerleaders are largely misunderstood and set about to illuminate the realities of the sport. Inspired by research she first did for a Jane article about the rise of cheerleading injuries, she set out to cover the 2006–2007 season, from the tryouts to the national championship, following three highly ranked teams: the Stephen F. Austin University Lumberjacks, in Nacogdoches, Tex.; the Southern University Jaguars, in Baton Rouge, La.; and the University of Memphis All-Girl Tigers. One commonality she finds among the majority of the young women is the myopic obsession with appearance and thinness, particularly for flyers, who are lifted and thrown. Cheerleaders, she writes, are not a carrot-stick kind of crowd although an entire chapter is devoted to one woman's story of how an addiction to cocaine to lose weight resulted in accolades from her coach and teammates. Torgovnick has clearly done her homework, though important characters and major narratives are lost within scores of inconsequential details. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Fans of Bring It On will find much to cheer about in Kate Torgovnick's meticulously reported account of the often-mocked but fascinating world of cheerleading." -- Entertainment Weekly

"Torgovnick has done an excellent job of reporting, bringing the reader into this world most of us would never see." -- USA Today

"A fist-pumping, Astroturf-banging tribute to the women and men who make up the in-world of competitive college cheerleading. It had me rooting from the edge of my seat for the final countdown of Nationals." -- NY Post

"An engaging, voyeuristic narrative that suggests college cheerleaders are as close to real-life superheroes as exist." -- Dallas Morning News

"One of the more successful pieces of narrative nonfiction this year, distinguished by Torgovnick's impeccable ear and canny, original choice of subject matter."-- Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"Kate Torgovnick's Cheer! is the Friday Night Lights of a new generation. Through her painstaking research, compassionate analysis, and uncanny eye for scenes, she offers us a window into the competitive subculture of college cheerleading the way Susan Orlean did for orchid hunters and Stefan Fatsis did for Scrabble players. Torgovnick is a journalist's journalist -- the kind of writer who gets the story and then has the good sense to get out of the way. We, the readers, can't help but revel in the world she's created, not only because it tells us something quintessential about America, but because it tells us something quintessential about ourselves."-- Courtney E. Martin, author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

"Because Kate Torgovnick has captured every voice in this fascinating world verbatim, crack open the book to read just one sentence and you too will be instantly immersed in these characters' riveting ups and downs (pun intended)."-- Jane Pratt, founder of Jane and Sassy magazines

"An exuberant and empathic journey deep into one of America's least-explored and most iconic team sports -- and if you've never thought of cheerleading as a sport, accompanying [Torgovnick] on this ride through the physical challenges of a competitions season will certainly change your mind. Whether you tried out for the Pom squad yourself, or blew off every high school pep rally like Torgovnick did, this suspenseful tale of cheerleading's glorious and addictive highs, and dangerous and pressure-cooked lows, will give you an insight into an ever-growing national phenomenon."-- Lauren Sandler, Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Kate Torgovnick grew up in North Carolina. After graduating from Barnard College and surviving a brief stint writing spam email, Kate landed her dream job at Jane magazine, working her way up from answering phones to serving as an associate writer/editor. She is now a freelance journalist'her stories have appeared in The New York Times, Page Six Magazine, Newsweek, The International Herald Tribune, The New York Observer, Radar, Good Housekeeping, ReadyMade, British Glamour, and more. She is also the editor-at-large at Dame Magazine.

CHEER! is Kate's first book. It's a narrative nonfiction romp through the world of competitive college cheerleading that Joyce Carol Oates called, "a spirited, fascinating, at times disturbing and always absorbing book." It has been getting stellar reviews so far'USA Today says, "Torgovnick has done an excellent job of reporting, bringing the reader into this world most of us would never see." And a reviewer for the New York Post says CHEER! is, "A fist-pumping, Astroturf-banging tribute to the women and men who make up the in-world of competitive college cheerleading. It had me rooting from the edge of my seat."

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 28 customer reviews
Despite the glossing over of these topics, the book is well written and very entertaining.
SS
In the Authors Note to CHEER!, Kate Torgovnick writes that "I wanted to fell the story of competitive cheerleading."
Mark Solomon
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes sports and enjoys a thrilling, action-packed narrative.
Joie J. Hyman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kimberlee Auerbach on March 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
CHEER! jumps off the page like one of the gravity-defying stunts featured in the book. Kate Torgovnick brings us so close that we actually feel the adrenaline pulse through our own bodies, giving us a glimpse of what it's like to live on the edge, to care about something so much that we're willing to break our own neck. By the end of this emotionally raw, and often beautiful, physical and psychological exploration, we know why we want to "Save the Cheerleader."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Z. Cohen on June 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have been in the cheerleading world for 11+ years, competing at high school, collegic and All Star level. Reading this book was a great experience for me as I no longer get to cheer in the college environment, but do miss it. Reading this book was a walk down memory lane for me.

In some places throughout the book, I had trouble following the descriptions of the of the routines. I would have done better with the use of the technical terms of each move, rather than the verbose descriptions, as I didn't really have the patients to read the full descriptions. I'm not sure how they will translate to someone who is not familiar with the sport.

What is really exciting about this book is the accuracy. Many modern portrayals of cheerleading treat it as a joke. This book explains the sport, why it's difficult, how dangerous the sport really is and isn't. It is really refreshing in that aspect.

There is a word of caution: THIS BOOK COVERS MATURE CONTENT. There are references to the very ugly sides of college cheerleading like: drug use, and eating disorders. As a coach, I wish this book had taken a stronger stance against these practices. There are MANY college cheerleaders who do not take drugs, and who do not have eating restrictions. This is a very sensitive subject, and I would hate for young cheerleaders to aspire to this type of behavior because of heroes found in this book.

All in all, this was a good book, and I would recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Mathews on June 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book and could hardly put it down. The reason I gave it three stars was that I found the written descriptions of the stunts, etc. REALLY hard to picture in my mind's eye, and it was frustrating. Obviously, I am NOT an ex-cheerleader!

So that's what drags my score down. Now, that "faux movie trailer" here on Amazon REALLY helped me envision the moves. It was cool to see the three teams "come to life." It is AMAZING what these true athletes can do.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joie J. Hyman on March 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Like the author, I've never been a cheerleader and didn't really know much about them in high school. My lack of experience with this topic probably made me love this book even more. I feel like I learned a lot about this amazingly popular subculture, and it's just a really great story of teamwork, dedication and major high stakes (the whole season comes down to a few minutes of make or break competition, which makes for a nail-biting read!). Cheerleading is a serious sport that usually gets frivolous coverage. Kate Torgovnick has a totally different take and gives the subject the respect it deserves. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes sports and enjoys a thrilling, action-packed narrative.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By melanie on March 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The author has a startling ability to immerse herself in another universe and emerge able to translate that world to the rest of us. I'd never really cared much about cheerleading one way or the other, but when I finished this book, I couldn't stop watching the videos of the teams' performances (available at cheerthebook.com) over and over again, amazed at not just how much more I knew about what they were doing but how much I had come to care about the individuals doing it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary G. Longorio VINE VOICE on August 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Cheer Three Teams on a Quest for College Cheerleading's Ultimate Prize follows three college cheer squads as they work towards their ultimate goal....a national cheer championship. From tryouts to the final competition Kate Torgovnick accompanies the three teams, all girl team from Memphis State, the Stephen F. Austin coed team, and the team from historically black college Southern University. These squads mirror much of the realities on any college athletic program. The big programs, the proven winners, have school funding, scholarships and heavy expectations from alumni as well as themselves. The all girl squad has to scramble and compete with the coed squad to get scholarships, financial backing, their own coaching and respect, even though they are proven winners. Southern University has to raise the money to travel and to find a championship competition to enter, as the stages Black colleges evaporate, despite being a proven crowd draw. Cheerleaders have their own struggles....leaving school to care for an ailing parent, romances, "ringchasing" (transferring from one program to another in hopes of winning a championship ring), balancing work and school, injuries, pregnancies, eating disorders and coaching changes. No matter what, they are expected to bound onto the field with endless enthusiasm and cheer.

I have to admit a bias; I am a band geek, through and through. After growing up in Texas, I swore no child of mine would do either of these two things... cheerleading or football. I forgot to tell my children! During their high school years I developed a healthy respect for the amount of work and athleticism involved in cheer. I also developed a deep dread that still rises in my throat when watching a particularly dangerous stunt or a missed catch.
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